Is The Wonder Weeks App Worth The Money?

Bringing new life into the world is a momentous and beautiful occasion. Parents, in awe of this tiny person they've created, are on high alert to protect their new bundle of joy while sleeping as little as humanly possible. And most will come to find there isn't much more concerning than being unable to pinpoint why your baby is crying. Typically, an unsettled baby is calmed by having a need met — feeding, being held, a diaper change, stepping outside, or putting on or taking off a layer. But, when these don't do the trick, a slow dread can creep in. Is my baby sick? Is there something dire being overlooked? Am I failing completely?

"The Wonder Weeks," a bestselling book written by Dutch husband and wife Frans Plooij and Hetty van de Rijt in 1992, suggests that all babies go through developmental leaps at predictable times, causing them to regress, hence the incessant fussiness and irritability. In other words, crying means your baby is meeting milestones and you can exhale because it's not your fault (via Today's Parent).

Expanding into something of a baby-advice kingdom, The Wonder Weeks has made waves across the globe and now offers an app in which you can map your baby's developmental milestones.

Here's what The Wonder Weeks app includes

According to The Wonder Weeks site, the app helps you support your baby during "leaps" or milestones. It includes a diary to keep track of your baby's progress, an alarm to notify you when your baby is approaching a leap, and a personalized schedule. You can also look back on your little one's first year, sort of like a baby book.

Extras are available for purchase, such as an e-book or audiobook in full or single chapters, music and white noise to promote healthy sleep, and a 4G WiFi baby monitor. The app has received multiple awards, including Apple's Top 10 best of the year 2016 in several countries, according to The Wonder Weeks website.

Also, note that the handy app can be used successfully without purchasing the book (via Healthline). 

The Wonder Weeks refers to your baby's age in weeks. Most parents won't know off-hand that their 6-month-old is 26 weeks. The app keeps track of this for you. With 4.9 stars in Apple's app store, the Wonder Weeks is available for $4.99.

So, is it worth the money?

If you're comforted by knowing that there could be a perfectly natural cause for your baby's inconsolable fussiness and you find some peace in charting baby's mood, then the app may be well worth the cost of a latte to you. On the other hand, some personalities may find that holding a magnifying glass up to your baby's progress causes much more stress. You've already waded through nine months of sorting pregnancy advice you should and shouldn't listen to. What if your baby is due for a leap and isn't showing the predicted signs? If your baby was born prematurely, can you rely on the app? Or, maybe after tracking your pregnancy, week by week, you're ready to just be in the moment with your baby — cooing or wailing.

Meta van den Heuvel, a social pediatrician at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, tells Today's Parent: "In general, it's important not to be too rigid. My perspective is that fussiness and unusual crying can be the result of several things, such as constipation or the need for attention, not just because it's week 10 and something is supposed to happen at exactly that time. It's not firmly predictable."

So, if you do opt to download the popular app, it might be wise to take it with a grain of salt.

Still on the fence about spending $4.99? Try checking out the book from your local library first to get your toes wet and see if the concept is right for you — or if it just looks like a future headache.